On the list…

Every now and again [well, almost every day to be honest] we come across reviews or suggestions for places to visit – so an ever expanding aspirational list. We hope to get round these before we well, you know, stop… Hopefully some of these will make the final cut.

England and Scotland…

  • Cecconi’s, Mayfair, as seen on the Land Rover ad. No idea whether it’s good but it’s Italian and they can’t do too much wrong, can they?
  • Cottage in the Wood, Lake District, a small but wonderful looking little B&B – or perhaps nearly a restaurant with rooms. Or Boutique Lake District Hotel they call it. Whatever, it’s on the list…website makes it look very inviting. ‘Stunning views, local Herdwick hogget, bold cooking – it’s almost enough to make a man take up hill walking’ Jay Rayner.
  • le Cochon Aveugle, York. Occupying the space left by Michael O’Hare when he “went big” in Leeds, this tasting-menu only promises much. Can’t wait…M O’L has been, of course “Everything makes us grin like ejects”. Yes, we’ve been – and see the Great British Menu, May 2017
  • Duck Soup, Soho, there’s a bit of a northern connection here with very good heritage. “A bit Brit, a bit Med, a touch of Middleast maybe a hat tip to Scandinavia. Ducksoup is so perfectly a restaurant of today. I like Ducksoup.” Metro, Marina O’Loughlin. OK, we’ve been. A 50/50 review by the team.
  • Inver, Strathlachlan, Argyll and Bute. Marina O’Loughlin “So go. Go by car or boat or bloody helicopter”…and “In a burger-obsessed west of Scotland, Inver is the ultimate outlier.” So, we know where it is, and we’re not exactly passing but…
  • Kiosk Café, Sherwood, Nottingham, a converted shipping container with rave reviews. It’s not Sat Bains but different.
  • Kitty Fisher’s, Mayfair, London, subject of the Giles Coren review in today’s Times [not online again…]. Best steak of his life. Must be worth a go…although Marina O’Loughlin in the Guardian wasn’t so impressed. Too much like the Bullingdon Club – “The whole thing feels like some posho’s house party I’m not invited to”
  • Lake Road Kitchen, Ambleside. Food of the North. Sent to save us from those over precious starred Cumbrian rivals with fancy French sounding names. “A meal without a single missed beat” M O’L.
  • Marianne Restaurant, Notting Hill, London, a chef who left architecture to open the restaurant. Let’s hope she’s as successful as the ex-architecture Pink Floyd…when you’re tired of the Ledbury this could be it.
  • Mr Underhill’s, Ludlow. A bit like that little place in Cheltenham, this one has been on the list for ages. Alas, it’s closed for refurbishment [he a shoulder, she a hip]. But if it ever opens again…
  • Portland Restaurant, London, recommended by Giles Coren as a perfect restaurant, although not the perfect restaurant. Next time we’re in town at a loose end…
  • The Hare at Scawton, reinvention of a good/bad North Yorkshire pub. Tasting menus only. Good reports so far. So, brave or…?
  • The Man Behind the Curtain, in Leeds. New Michelin star “A unique, very individually styled restaurant with a minimalist interior and bold graffiti artwork, set on the top floor of a privately owned fashion store. Accomplished, highly skilled cooking uses very original, creative combinations – and the artful presentation is equally striking.” We should have gone ages ago…when we could get in without a year’s notice…
  • NEW The Sugar Boat, Helensburgh, opened by Will Smith, formerly of Mayfair’s Wild Honey and Soho’s Arbutus. Be there or be square!…[it’s on the Square stupid…ed]
  • Van Zeller’s, Harrogate. We’ve walked past it so many times as it’s just around the corner from the Drum & Monkey. Trouble is, we always get stuck at the D&M… Naturally, Marina has been. Sunday Times Top 100. Alas, we walked past too many times without going in – it’s closed forever, a casualty of Harrogate’s booming cheap/not so cheap chain restaurants – shame on you Harrogate Council.
  • Vennell’s, Masham, recommended by Francis Atkins – how is it so local and we haven’t been..! 10 years!
  • West Park Hotel, Harrogate, the newest venture from Provenance Inns. After a very disappointing stay at the Hotel du Vin [can it really be that hard to have orange juice at breakfast, and the black paint everywhere was never a good idea in the first place], this could be the place.

Belgium…[we know, we know]

  • Huis Koning, the big attraction here is an intimate breakfast terrace over the canal that runs along the house – also the perfect spot for a sunset aperitif. Book well in advance – say a year.
  • The Herring’s Residence, a v smart B&B in Bruges – next city break in the offing. The “stay” part of the Michelin restaurant, the Herrings. Breakfast could be special…unlike H***eck Gh**l.


  • L’ambroisie, a 3* Michelin restaurant in the Place des Vosges, Paris. See ElizabethOnFood. No tasting menu – Hurrah! And Paris’ longest running 3* restaurant. So discreet…
  • L’Auberge de L’ill, a 3* Michelin restaurant on the eastern edge of the Parc Naturelle des Ballons des Vosges, near the border with Germany. Great reports from friends. Breakfast whilst being rowed up the river anyone?


  • NEW Antica Osteria Del Mirasole, San Giovanni in Persiceto. Never mind Osteria Francescana, eat where Massimo Bottura eats.
  • Cima Rosa, Venezia, a small boutique B&B in a C15th Palazzo. Gracious is the word.
  • Il Salviatino, seems a quite nice hotel in Fiesole, overlooking Firenze. Maybe a touch smart…but it’s where the chefs eat.
  • Masseria Il Frantoio, a great little place to stay in Puglia. Sawday’s winner in the “Slow Food” category. Heaven.
  • Osteria Francescana, Modena, handy for the Ferrari factory but where is there to stay? More research needed. Home of the famous “splatted” pudding. 12 tables and No 1 in the World’s Top 50 restaurants…promotion from 3rd 2nd.
  • Torre di Moravola, Perugia, one for the architectural geeks. Slick, modern yet ancient. Is it too posh for us? Are we ready for the cocktail competitions? No, but could be worth a try if we maintain an aloof air of mystery…


  • Cocoa Island, Maldives. It can’t be real and, although we’re useless at sitting and relaxing, this could tempt us. Swimming, snorkelling anyone? “Don’t come here to be entertained, as there is nothing at all to do…”


  • NEW Bror, København, Denmark. It’s not quite Noma [even with a 4 letter name…] but there’s a local Northern builder connection with one of the owners, Sam Nutter. Very interesting food – Herring Liver, Turnip; Cod Cheek, Horseradish, Dill; Bull Balls, Tartare Sauce; Cod Cheek, Salsify, Squid Ink. Judge for yourselves!

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